High expectations have followed David and Travis Wear throughout their basketball careers, and while UCLA coach Ben Howland has exercised patience with the twins so far, that time might be coming to an end.
After the pair bludgeoned Arizona and led the Bruins to their first Pac-12 Conference victory, 65-58, on Thursday night at Honda Center, Howland set their best performance of the season as a baseline level of expectation, noting he'd like to see "more rebounds hopefully, less foul trouble."
It was about all he could ask after Travis finished with a career-high 20 points, as well as five rebounds and three blocks, and David had 14 points and five rebounds. The pair did it without center Josh Smith, who sat out with a concussion suffered in practice Wednesday.
"We need our bigs to score down low," said senior guard Lazeric Jones, who added 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. "Games like this, when my jump shot is not falling, it didn't make a lot of difference for us because they were banging down low.
"We need them to do that."
It's clear from the rotation and performance on the court that UCLA's success this season will be placed in the hands of the Wear twins. If UCLA is going to rebound in the second half of the season and make a run at the conference title and an NCAA Tournament bid, their continued growth is a must.
"They do not have very much (college game) experience," Howland said. "They didn't play much as freshmen (and sat out last season due to transfer rules). They have game experience like (true freshman) Norman (Powell), even though they are older."
They didn't look inexperienced against Arizona, battling for position down low and leaving a strong impression on Arizona. Coach Sean Miller said they "were very good getting the ball inside," and forward Solomon Hill said their "length is a big part of their success."
"That was a big emphasis the last couple days in practice, making sure everything was going toward the hoop and no fadeaways or shying away from contact," David Wear said. "It was unfortunate that we both got in foul trouble, so we couldn't be as aggressive as we would have liked to be. But still we came and set the tone early that we were going to play hard, play aggressive and hold it down low."
Howland said the pair practiced well, and it was important for them to see that translate to a game. Now, they'll just need to keep performing at that high level - with a lot more rebounding and a few fewer fouls.